Tuesday 29 March 2016

UK Tour News: Mars Red Sky / Elephant Tree UK Tour May 2016

Snuff Lane is absolutely honoured to be working with Mars Red Sky and Elephant Tree for the coordination and arrangement of a May UK Tour; which will take place in support of both bands new releases.

The tour is scheduled for 5 dates throughout the UK in the following cities:

Praise For the Burning Soul UK Tour
12/05 – Exchange and The Stag and Hounds, Bristol (Six Band Event)
13/05 – The Phoenix, Coventry
14/05 – Birthdays Dalston, London (support TBC)
15/05 – Rebellion Manchester, Manchester (NOIZ All-Dayer)
16/05 – Audio Glasgow, Glasgow

More Info: Praise For the Burning Soul UK Tour - Mars Red Sky (FR) & Elephant Tree

THAL - Glitter (Ablum Review)

Release date: April 1st 2016. Label: Voodoo Chamber Records. Format: CD/DD

Glitter – Tracklisting

3.Skin of the Buffalo
4.Bad Intentions
7.Glitter: The Devil's Horn
8.Eat The Sun (Bonus Track - Digital only)


THAL’s debut album Glitter comes off as a heavier version of Truckfighters as they create a similar style of Fuzz/Desert Rock as that great band. THAL start to create their own sound by adding a distorted noise rock vibe to the mix.

Opening track – Apotheosis – sets up the scene for a cool ride of heavy Stoner/Fuzz riffs. The vocals take a few minutes getting used to as they’re very different to the usual style of Fuzz/Stoner Rock bands currently out there. I would say you can detect a slight Punk/Heavy Metal vibe to the vocals. The riffs are the main attraction here as THAL keep things nice and simple which allows the listener to fully enjoy themselves here. THAL don’t offer anything new or original here but what they do offer is highly energetic riffs you will find very hard to resist.

Second track – Vacant – sees THAL create a more vibrant atmosphere compared to the first track. THAL start playing superb progressive guitar solos but the mood remains firmly rooted in classic desert rock/stoner metal territory. It has a slight blues-rock feel towards the end of the song that allows THAL to demonstrate their musical skills.

Third track – Skin Of The Buffalo – is a song I have issues with. It starts off superbly well but then some of the more interesting guitar riffs are drowned out by lesser impressive sounds. Though to THAL’s credit the turn things round quite quickly with the band creating solid riffs to hold your attention. The vocals can be very jarring at times but they get the job done. This track is perhaps one of the weakest songs on the album but it shouldn’t deter you from the overall enjoyment of the album.

Fourth song – Bad Intentions – is perhaps the standout track on the album. An exciting and action packed song packed full of intelligent riffs and lyrics to match. The atmosphere becomes a tad psychedelic as it shows another side to THAL that I’m becoming to enjoy more every time I listen to the album. This song has a rebellious punk based attitude especially with the vocals and lyrical content.

The second half of the album sees THAL add a heavy NOLA sound to the mix especially on the fifth song – Whistleblowers. Fans of cult classic movie – The Big Lewbowski – will find very much to enjoy on the song – Sobchak. All I’m going to say but expect a cool instrumental song that pays homage to that classic movie.

Glitter does have a few flaws but for sheer non-stop stoner metal entertainment, you’ll find this very hard to beat. THAL have created an album they can rightly be proud off. Awesome stuff.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to THAL for the promo. Glitter will be available to buy on CD/DD from 1st April 2016.


Vodun - Possession (Album Review)

Release date: March 25th 2016. Label: Riff Rock Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Possession – Tracklisting

1. Loa's Kingdom
2. Bondye
3. Bloodstones
4. Oya
5. Loko
6. Legba's Feast
7. Possession
8. Mawu
9. Minos Army
10. Divinity
11. Kanpay Rejeté

Band Members:

Ogoun - Drums
Ghede - Guitars
Oya - Vocals


Vodun’s debut album – Possession – is starting to create some major noise within the UK Hard Rock/Metal scene and it’s not hard to see why. Vodun is a very hard band to describe as their music crosses so many different genres and boundaries to create something wholly original. Psychedelic Stoner Metal is the best way to describe Vodun but there is so much to Possession than that. Swirls of Psych Rock, Blues Rock and Heavy Metal make this a truly riveting album.

Lead singer Oya vocals are beautiful, soulful, sensual, sultry, loud, fearful and dangerous, nearly all at the same time especially when she starts singing those high notes. The album hides some very dark themes within each song as Vodun injects hypnotic tribal rhythms into their music especially on the second half of the album.

Each band member has added their own sound and identity into their music. You have to give credit to the Ogoun and Ghede on Drums and Guitars respectively, as they’ve created stunning heavy riffs for Oya to build her powerful vocals upon and it’s a magical soulful combination. Songs such as Loa’s Kingdom, Bondye, Oyo, Loko and Kanpay Rejeté offer the albums most exciting moments where Vodun create a whirlwind of different noises and emotions that will leave you shaken to the core.

Even if you’re not fully sold by the albums dark lyrical content then you can just enjoy the heavy riffs that Vodun have at their disposal. Though I recommend you to take the time to listen to listen to the lyrics the band has written as you’ll find a deeper appreciation of the album.

One of my favourite parts of the album is the many different sounds and noises that Vodun has created on Possession. This album feels like it was made for an worldwide audience as the band include as many different world sounds they can lay their hands on. It allows Vodun to be true global ambassadors of Rock and Roll.

Vodun have created one of the most daring and exciting debut albums to emerge from the UK Hard Rock/Psych/Stoner Metal scene in years. Believe the hype, it’s fully justified. Possession is an incredible album and its one you all need to fully experience for yourselves.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Dave Palmer from Division Promotions for the promo. Possession is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Riff Rock Records now.


Saturday 26 March 2016

MANTAR - Ode To The Flame (Album Review)

Release date: April 15th 2016. Label: Nuclear Blast Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Ode To The Flame – Tracklisting

1.Carnal Rising
2.Praise The Plaque
3.Era Borealis
4.The Hint
5.Born Reversed
7.I, Omen
8.Cross The Cross

Band Members:

Hanno – Vocals/Guitar
Erinc – Drums/Vocals


Mantar are back with the follow up to their highly acclaimed "Death By Burning" album released back in 2014. And they're back in fine form, picking up where they left off the last time, but seemingly not happy to just repeat what's gone before.

Album opener "Carnal Rising" is a short sharp blast of Black Metal tinged punk as fuck sludge, which is the perfect way to kick things off. It bears the distinctive sound that this two man riff machine have perfectly honed during their time together, but hints that there is more to come throughout this record.

And Mantar don't fail to deliver on that promise. You can tell at all times throughout "Ode To The Flame" that this is a Mantar record, but everything seems more intense. Yeah, you read that right. More intense. The riffs are more developed, and the drums are even more aggressive and expressive than before and the vocals filled with even more spite and passion.

"Era Borealis" and the magnificent "Born Reversed" show that whilst this record may be heavier and more aggressive than previous efforts, Mantar are not afraid to deliver riffs and hooks a plenty. SO many hooks. Like a fucking pirate convention.....

Track 7 "I Omen" sees something different happening. A Hammond Organ (or something along those lines) opens the track, before business as normal as Hanno unleashes that familiar growl over some more blackened and fucking filthy riffs.

The album closes on the ridiculous "Sundowning" which for me is the not only the standout track of the album, but so far the year. Honestly it's that fucking good. Growled vocals, over long drawn out cords backed up by the thunderous tom work of Erinc Sakarya, switch masterfully between more up tempo sections and the ending is about as punk rock as you could wish for, as everything fades away leaving just the drums to conclude the track.

My first introduction to Mantar was on the live stage, and if you've seen them you know just how furious and exciting they are to watch, coupled with their set up on stage of playing opposite one another (Sideways drums). Mantar deliver that ferocity in spades on record as well. 2016 has already seen some monstrous releases with even more to follow, but for me so far this record is sitting in pole position.

Words by Simon Ross Williams

Ode To The Flame will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from NuclearBlast Records USA and Nuclear Blast Records Europe on April 15th 2016.


Interview with Kostas Panagiotou from LANDSKAP

Landskap is the outfit with quite a notable lineup. Frédéric Caure played in a dozen of bands including Bellator, Bunkur, Pantheist, Serpentcult and few more pretty extreme outfits; he’s responsible for bass and rhythm guitars here. Paul Westwood is the member of active atmospheric black metal / post-rock band Fen, he’s the drummer in Landskap. Guitarist George Pan came from unknown for me Dead Man’s Band and Father Sun. Kostas Panagiotou plays keyboards and organ, he does the same and also sing in Pantheist since 2000, now he’s also part of international project Clouds – I believe that you heard of them. And Landskap vocalist Jake Harding spent some time with Centurion Ghost and Dead Existence.

So you see that sort of company we have here. But I bet that you couldn’t predict that these five people are here to play good and old retro doom rock with lots of psychedelic and prog rock pieces. The band have released two full-length records named just “I” and “II” and already finished the third album as the second one is to be re-released by Black Widow Records. Kostas Panagiotu is the one who reveals past and future secrets of Landskap.

Hi Kostas! How are you? I usually start with the question about band's current status, but this time I just wonder how did you get in Landskap?!

Hailz Aleksey! Well this is an interesting story …I got in Landskap when Frederic asked me to join. He was the original bassist of this band, but has now moved to Devon to start his own brewery (Stargazer brewery…check it out if you like good beer, you can’t go wrong with a Belgian in an English brewery!) Anyhow, we digress; you might know Frederic better as the bassist of Pantheist in the ‘O Solitude’ era…he was also the main organizer of the first funeral doom tour ever, the ‘Funeral Procession’ tour back in 2003 (Skepticism, Pantheist, Until Death Overtakes Me). He moved to England from Belgium a few years after I did, it really is a small world.

Landskap is five musicians with experience of playing in different metal bands, how did the fate gather you under Landskap banner?

Most of us knew each other anyway, London might be big but the scene is rather small. I knew drummer Paul from Fen, Frederic was obviously also known to me. George moved from Athens to London –like so many young Greeks nowadays to flee the economic crisis. Jake only joined later. We now have another bassist called Chris, and sadly Paul decided to move to Scotland and quit drumming in April, so we are just playing one more show with him before welcoming a new drummer.

Band's name was invented by Frédéric, and it is translated as “landscape” from West Flemish. What did you put in this word? What would you like to bring forth your listeners through it?

First of course it reflects Fred’s background and place he grew up, West Flanders; however, for me it signifies much more. Our music has long-stretched out sections, often instrumental, with plenty of repetition that brings the listener in a certain mood. I like to see these sections as musical ‘landscapes’: vast, long but also breathtaking and beautiful!

The band paves the road of vintage progressive doom rock if you don't mind against such definition. Do you have a main ideologist of this direction in the band? I'm asking because I remember that last works of Pantheist have a huge prog influences, so what is your part into it?

The band’s sound was developed after a year’s worth of jamming between George, Frederic and Paul so I don’t have much to do with setting the general philosophy, as it was already there when I joined. The main idea is to play music reflecting our favourite progressive/psychedelic era (late 60ties/early 70ties), but without trying too hard to sound ‘retro’.

Landskap – Tomorrow’s Ghost

What do you think about doom metal elements people hear in Landskap? Do you agree that you have some components of it?

Yes, I’m quite comfortable with people hearing doom elements in our music. I guess if this wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t be playing at the Doom Over London festival soon! At the same time however, it’s clear that our music has much more to offer; a bit of classic rock, a bit of psychedelia, a tiny bit of prog, blues, jazz and some metal…despite people’s attempts of lumping us together with other bands in categories such as ‘occult rock’ or ‘retro rock’, I don’t think we are that easy to pigeonhole after all.

Kostas you did start play music (correct if I’m wrong) in more brutal genre, there weren’t any hints of old school rock in earlier albums of your first band Pantheist. How did you become acquainted with prog and psych rock? And how did you know that it’s time to say your own word in this genre?

I always liked progressive and psych rock, way before Pantheist was even formed. In fact, I never was a ‘metalhead’, I went straight from the likes of Pink Floyd, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath to Moonspell, Tiamat and Anathema, without the obligatory thrash and heavy metal period in between. As for early Pantheist, I can’t really say it was that brutal, as there were a lot of ambient and classical elements in my music. I am a keyboard player after all, so I perceive music and composition very differently than most metal and rock writers/composers, who are usually guitarists, or think like guitarists ;)

How do you share your inputs and efforts in Landskap? Will you add elements of rembetico in it as it was with your "Journey Through Lands Unknown"?

No I won’t, as said above the band already had a clear identity when I joined and I am just adding my own contribution in the way that I see fit. This means a lot of Hammond organs and keyboard instrumentation that has been used by many of my favourite bands of that era. Most ideas come from our guitarist George, but I think what makes Landskap special is the way in which our playing comes together to create that ‘live’, jammy feel without descending into endless solos and acid freakouts, as the tracks are well-structured and rather memorable.

Kostas, do you miss Greece? What do you miss in London?

I was 11 when I left Greece and even though I still go there every year on holidays, I can’t say I am missing it as I was too young when I left. I like the weather, the nature and the social nature of human interaction, but there are also many things about Greece I just wouldn’t be able to get used to. As for London, luckily I only lived there for 1 year. I hated that lifestyle, always centered around money as everything is so expensive and life is hectic, bah! I am much happier living outside of London but unfortunately still in the South East of England which is busy and overcrowded. I will be looking forward to move to the South West of England over the next three years, where things are a bit quieter.

The first Landskap album "I" was released only on vinyl - speaking about physical format; didn't you find some label to do a CD-edition as well?

We never looked out for it. We consider ourselves as a ‘vinyl’ band mostly and consider CD releases as ‘bonus’. Black Widow really wanted to have a CD release of II so in the end we consented, as long as they released the album on vinyl as well. But all our albums so far have been created with a ‘vinyl mentality’; the length, the order of the tracks and even the choice of tracks to open Side A and Side B are all adjusted to the vinyl format. For me personally, a combination of digital mp3 and vinyl is the way. The first is the easiest format to use and offers instant access, the second the nicest in terms of packaging and creates that wonderful feel of anticipation and wonder, just like back in the times when each individual album was important, rather than people shuffling through their iTunes library.

Besides that your sophomore work "II" exists only as digital release since it was recorded in 2014. I heard that Italian Black Widow Records put their eyes on it. Is it correct information?

As stated above, Black Widow have already released the album on CD and vinyl since the end of last year.

Landskap – To Harvest The Storm

You recorded both albums in Greg Chandler Priory Studio. I was thinking that in general he works with heavier and more brutal bands - just like Chris Fielding of Whitby Studios / Foel Studio who works with more traditional doom stuff. So how did you work with Greg over the sound you needed to gain?

Most of us had worked with Greg before anyway so we knew what to expect. Greg actually works with a wide range of bands and not just brutal metal, he is a proper professional studio engineer. I have previously mixed the second album of my darkwave project Ereipia with him, as well as my ambient project Sermones Ad Mortuos, so I knew that he does an equally good job with non metal releases. He likes the music of Landskap and has helped us to achieve exactly the sound we wanted for our albums.

II” and “I” have not many differences as it seems from the first glance, did you record both albums the same way and with same intentions?

I would argue that there are significant differences; the first album is ‘simpler’ in its structure, and has more of a ‘doom’ feel to it. We recorded it in one day in the studio and had to add a lot of extras afterwards, such as the vocals, the bass and some guitar solos. The second is more varied, with all musicians having stepped up. Also for me personally, there was a significant difference as the Roland Fantom I was using for the keyboard sounds on I was not satisfactory, so it was mixed rather low in the mix. However, I then went out and bought a V-Combo VR 700 which has an amazing Hammond sound, which helped me find my place within the band.

Kostas, you’re speaking like zealous keyboard fan! Can you tell about your requirements to the equipment you use?

Certainly; hardware wise, I'm mostly used to the sound of Roland synthesizers, even though I used to own a Korg at some point in the past as well. Generally speaking, I try to adapt my sound to the band/project I am in, and because I like to try very diverse things musically, I also end up using keyboards very differently from band to band. E.g. in Pantheist keyboards are integral to the sound and I am using a lot of grand pianos, church organs and majestic orchestral sounds to create that ‘funereal vibe’. At the same time, more proggy sounds were introduced gradually, even though with the latest album I have adopted again a more ‘purist’ approach.

Landskap on the other side is very different. I use mostly vintage sounding Hammond with 70ties built-in amps, and electric piano sounds. As said above, the V-Combo is ideal for that, but I also use the same synthesizer in Pantheist very differently (no Hammond sounds, but I use its dark wave sounds which are pretty amazing). The Fantom is mostly used in Pantheist to give an extra spatial dimension to the music, it’s a keyboard that can sound very dark and atmospheric, and it also has a user friendly sampler. I have also used a lot of soft synths in Pantheist (and session/project work), even though once again this is avoided on the album we are currently working.

Landskap music holds a lot of progressive rock elements, and prog is the genre where keyboard play one of main roles. What is your part during composing and recording stages?

I see my role very similarly to what I was doing when I used to play in Crippled Black Phoenix. Even though I am not the main composer, I add a lot to the arrangements of the tracks. My favourite approach is to add little ‘riffs’ and ‘melodies’ in the tracks that compete and duel with the guitars. I am also not afraid to hold low, sustained doomy notes that can give more heaviness and depth to the compositions.

You already have work over new songs for the album “III”, can you share some details of new material? What would you like to put into it?

Yes, the album has already been recorded at the end of February, once again with Greg, and is currently in the process of being mastered at Audiosiege mastering studio. It will be –predictably- called III and is marking the end of some sort of trilogy if you like, as there is a feeling with the line-up changes we are having since Fred and now Paul left, that we are entering a new era. It has by far the best sound yet and the tracks are very varied, and perhaps slightly more uptempo even though there are still plenty of ‘downtempo’ moments. I believe it is our best album yet, but then again I would say that, wouldn’t I?

There is a lot of bands play in retro manner today, and a lot of listeners follow them as the world around us seem to be impossible to give a place for these feelings and vibrations this music brings. For example prog rock is something idealistic in some way, and it barely could be a product of our surrounding. How do you see this return of music scene on old ways?

I know there are many bands nowadays jumping on the ‘retro’ bandwagon, but I think there is something innocent about the music of the era we are exploring. It was a time when bands didn’t think too much, they just went ahead and recorded whatever they felt reflected their musical tastes. Nowadays everything needs to fit in a category, a sub-subgenre and people are much more concerned with classifying music, but for me personally the appeal of this ‘old’ music is that it sounds spontaneous, unpredictable and honest, without trying too hard to be something in particular.

Kostas, the last record of Pantheist was released about five years ago, what’s the band’s status today?

We just played a gig in Edinburgh last weekend, and we play at the Doom Over London festival at the end of this month (where I also play with Landskap, that will be interesting!) Last year we played our first gig in 2 years when we performed at Doom Over Kiev in November. After the self-titled album, the line-up of the band totally changed and currently I’m the only surviving member of that era. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that we had to restart with the new line-up, initiating the composition of the fifth album from scratch. The idea is to have it released by autumn of this year.

I guess that Pantheist’s message changed through the years from album to album; what is Pantheist today for you?

I guess it has become more of a collective and less ‘my band’. The new material is very brutal and heavy, bathing in a suffocating funereal atmosphere, as was witnessed at our performance at Doom Over Kiev. There is also a concept story behind the new album, which will be published soon with its own soundtrack, so at least the ‘conceptual’ side of the band is still what it was: multi-layered and unpredictable.

And besides that you also took part in Clouds album “Doliu”, will this project have a continuation?

I’m sure it will, but I guess this is a question to ask Dan as I’m just a contributor to this project. As far as I know, Dan and Jarno are currently working on the second album.

Thanks for your time Kostas! I wish you all the best in your creative undertakings and I hope that will have a chance to discuss your new works pretty soon. Do you have few more words for our readers?

Thanks for another interesting and well conceived interview Aleksey. Hailz to your readers, open your minds and close your doors!

Words by Aleks Evdokimov and Kostas Panagiotou


Sick Tapestry - Self Diagnosis (EP Review)

Release date: March 19th 2016. Label: No Fun Intended. Format: DD

Self Diagnosis – Tracklisting

1.Where 07:13
2.Day[Light] 07:00
3.This Place 06:19

Band Members:

Jordan McNamara - Vocals, Drums
Robert Hemingway - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Noise.
James Render - Vocals, Synths


Self Diagnosis, the debut EP from Sick Tapestry is one dark twisted tale of nightmarish vocals and riffs to match. From from the ashes of cult UK Sludge/Noise/Doom riffsters – FORMES. Sick Tapestry have taken the heavier and doomier side of FORMES and forged it into something more heavier. As Self Diagnosis is quite an experimental take on all things Doom/Sludge Metal. Clean vocals and death based growls are the main order of business with the Doom/Sludge Metal riffs offering quite a theatrical vibes at times.

Opening track – Where – is pure chaos as the band explore many different genres of music such as Doom, Psych, Stoner, Sludge and even Thrash. It's a very dark and nightmarish song. FORMES were known for experimenting with their music but Sick Tapestry goes even further with some industrial style sounds appearing here and there.

Second track – Day[Light] is my fave song on the EP as the band go all out in creating doom/industrial based sounds. I can hear a slight Godflesh influence on this song though Sick Tapestry still create their own sound that's bound to win them major praise as FORMES did. The production can be very lo-fi at times but it really adds to the doom and gloom atmospherics of the EP.

Third track – This Place – opens with creepy drum solo and acoustic guitar before the heavier industrial based noises appear. Things can be quite hectic at times as the band experiment with their sound yet again. Slow-paced post-metal riffs then change into faster and heavier Doom/Thrash sounds which maybe too jarring for some to fully appreciate. My advice, just go with it as only Sick Tapestry know what the fuck is going on. Yeah, it's confusing to listen to at times but it's cool to hear the band go all out crazy on the final song.

Self Diagnosis is a dark and weird as hell EP from Sick Tapestry. The production could have done with more work and the vocals need more volume. Apart from that, Sick Tapestry have released a superb debut EP. Hopefully a full length record won't be too far away. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe


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Desert Storm/Suns Of Thunder 7inch Split (Single Review)

Release date: April 29th 2016. Label: H42 Records. Format: Vinyl

Desert Storm/Suns Of Thunder 7inch Split Single – Tracklisting

Signals From Beyond
Earn Your Stripes

Desert Storm Members:

Chris White: Guitar
Ryan Cole: Guitar
Chris Benoist: Bass
Elliot Cole: Drums
Matt Ryan: Vocals

Suns Of Thunder Members:

Greg Bombroffe - Vocals&Guitar
Matt Williams - Vocals&Guitar
Chris James - Slappa de Bass
Sam Loring - Drums n percussion


Oxford Stoner Rockers – Desert Storm and Welsh Stoner Riffsters – Suns Of Thunder – have teamed up to release a superb split 7inch single. Desert Storm have recorded an entirely new song whilst Suns Of Thunder have offered a song from their 2015 debut album – Start As You Mean To Get Down.

Desert Storm's song – Signals From Beyond – is classic Desert Storm through and through. Loud grizzled vocals from Matt bring this song fully to life with their familiar style of Stoner Metal drenched in a healthy dose of Blues Rock. This song feels like it was taken from their 2013 album – Horizontal Life. It has the same spaced out vibe from that album. So if you're a fan of that album you'll find much to enjoy here.

Suns Of Thunder song – Earn Your Stripes – is more of a groove/stoner rock kind of song compared to the heavier offering from Desert Storm. Sure I'm disappointed it's not a new song from these guys but when they include one of the standout songs from their debut album then I can easily forgive them. Earn Your Stripes ticks all the right boxes to entertain you for three minutes or so. It has a slight classic rock vibe especially with the vocals but it ends things really well.

H42Records are releasing this 7inch single on vinyl and pre-sales will start on Friday 29th March 2016. If your'e a fan of both bands then you cannot pass this release by. All in all this is a superb 7inch single that will look good in anyone's vinyl collection.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Desert Storm and H42 Records for the promo.

Desert Storm Links:

Suns Of Thunder Links:

Snowburner - Future Primitive (Album Review)

Release date: January 22nd 2016. Label: Freebird Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Future Primitive  – Tracklisting

1. Blizzard of Gain 3:32
2. Ride the Tide 3:41
3. You Blues, You Lose 2:28
4. Reelin’ in the Wasted Years 3:04
5. Stabbed on the Throne 5:10
6. Haunt Me No Longer 3:24
7. Reap the Sown 3:26
8. Ashes in the West 3:46
9. Vultures at Bay 7:11
10. Bailiff’s Blues 2:52

Band Members:

Arjan Zuijderduijn – Guitars
Badr van der Meijden – Guitars
Jan van der Plas – Drums
Jop Hoekstra – Vocals & Bass


Back in January 2016, I pre-ordered this album almost as a blindfold purchase based solely on the track ‘Ride the Tide’ as the only song streaming online from Snowburner’s debut full length entitled ‘Future Primitive’. If you too have listened to that track you know I was no fool for pulling the trigger that fast and upon having listened to the entire album multiple times, in fact so many I have lost count, I can without hesitation state that ‘Future Primitive’ never fail to deliver on the promise waved with Ride The Tide.

The whole album slays and hits you with a solid mix of heavy stoner fuzz and boogie desert rock with a metalic edge. It’s packing so much punch its sure to knockout any mainstream radio rock listener. The 10 tracks on ‘Future Primitive’ will without a doubt appeal to any fan of Fu Manchu, Lo-Pan, Truckfighters, Clutch and Kyuss. One thing that needs your attention upfront, apart from the four skilled Dutch fuzz-wave-riders obvious keen-ear for smooth mid-paced stoner rock, is the production. Oh man, the production on this record, is good, and not just average stoner-doom good, no, it’s REALLY good.

The guitars sounds warm and soothing, yet super heavy and on the brink of melting my speakers. The drums comes through the mix with so much power I can almost feel the punch from them in my chest. The bass is thick and molten and vibrates just below everything. Whats strikes me here is how well each instrument is defined, yet never leading to a fragmented sound, and at any time you get the sense of a dump truck of fuzz running you over. I do not think I have heard such a sweet-sounding album since the last Brutus album (‘Behind the Mountains’). Kudos to the band and James Plotkin for pulling this off, it is no small feat.

Another thing worth mentioning, before I delve into the music itself, is the blindingly beautiful cover. We all love something nice to look at and even more so, when a cover art in some way contributes to or underline the musical scheme and references at stake. With ‘Future Primitive’, we have scenery with a giant octopus fighting an interstellar battleship at the bottom of the sea in front of some time and space warp vortex. This acidic and gleaming vision of a deep-sea battle is by far some of the best cover artwork I have seen in a while and there is enough to stare at as to make even Jacques Cousteau cream his pants.

As hinted at earlier, the musical scope outlined by Snowburner ventures not far from the beaten stoner rock track, although some different and new tricks are thrown in here and there for good measure, Future Primitive stick to a well proven formula of super fuzzy groove-laden boogie stoner rock. This might sound like a bad thing; well in this case, it is not. When executed very well, you do not mind experiencing it again – kind of like bear and pretzels.

Track after track dishes out on super tasty stoner rock, and especially prime cuts as ‘Reelin’ in the Wasted Years’, ‘Stabbed on the Throne’ and of course the aforementioned ‘Ride the Tide’ as this leaves your body left to uncontrolled moving and and continuous head-nodding.

Haunt Me No Longer’ comes so damn close to the mighty Fu Manchu it is almost scary. Again scary in the best sense of the word. Listen for yourself and see what I mean. A band that does Fu Manchu interpretations this well, better start writing Mr. Hill’s tracks for him, for all I care.

Ashes in the West’ nods heavily to The Sword circa ‘Age of Winters’ era with a ripping stoner heavy riff and beefy bass-lines and Jop Hoekstra doing his best Ozzy impression. It’s important to stress that Snowburner by no means come off as mere mimickers – glancing at passed time masters can never be a bad thing when the impersonator surpasses the original. Just take for instance a band named after a flower and an acoustic Sabbath song.

Album highlight might be ‘Vultures at Bay’ that with its soaring melodic ending part hits some of the best stoner rock I have heard in a long while. I can’t recommend this Dutch stoner ensemble enough as ‘Future Primitive’ is a little shimmering blue oasis of high caliber stoner rock amidst a drying-out desert scenery. Go have a sip…

Check out the closing track ‘Bailiff’s Blues’ a southern tinged delta blues folk country thing complete with acoustic guitars and harmonica and a feel that makes it sit as easily in on any Muddy Waters album. Funny thing is it fits perfectly with Snowburner’s vision of a modern take on stoner rock as well in a wry lopsided and laid-back way. Now excuse me, where’s my Jack D…

Words by Niels Fuzz Bartholdy


Thursday 24 March 2016

Interview with MotherSloth

MotherSloth maybe a band you're already familiar with. They released a stunning and critically acclaimed debut album with Moribund Star back in 2014. It showed a band with huge potential especially where their music is concerned. Even with their music primarily being instrumental, Mothersloth have an air of intelligence within their music. 
MotherSloth have been fairly quiet of late so when the band contacted me asking to do an interview with me then I jumped at the chance. I wanted to see what has happened with the band and if any new music is on the horizon. All is revealed below.
• Hi guys, Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today.
Oscar - Hello, Steve, always a pleasure for us.
• For people not in the know can you give a brief history of how the band got together and where it is today.
Oscar: We have been together for 8 years, Alvaro (guitar) and I started the band. I was born in Peru, and formed MotherSloth when I moved to Spain, in 2008. I was looking for musicians to play with and a friend introduced me to Alvaro, we started jamming and giving shape to some ideas we had, which soon became our first songs. Later on we found the other members and started playing live in Madrid. We have a couple of albums out, 'Hazy Blur Of Life' (2012) and 'Moribund Star' published digitally in 2014 and edited in Feb 2016.
Dani: I joined the band in late 2013 playing rhythm guitar, and as of May 2014 I took on the singing as well. Our present situation is the recording of our 3rd album “The FireMill”.

• How would you describe your music in your own words?.
Dani: off the top of my head, slow paced music with a crushing demolishing sound that can deliver sudden jabs and many stages of shock to the human mind.
• You released a stunning debut album – Moribund Star – back in August 2014. It received a load of praise from various people. Did that surprise you how well it was received?
Oscar: Yes, it is always a pleasure to see the positive reactions to what we do, and it was a surprise indeed, because some friends had commented about how losing the singer would affect our sound, but we saw it as a chance to do something that could not be done with a singer in the band, we would have had to pull him apart , but that was not necessary so we took the chance. We had many instrumental songs written and we decided to record them. For the last one, Dani joined us when we were finishing the album so he was able to sing in that one, Dry Tears. We are currently releasing a CD edition via German based label, Voodoo Chamber Records, distributed in US by Stone Groove Records.
• Looking back would you change anything about the album.
Alvaro: Definitely, not only that album, but many things. I would have recorded my guitar with different equipment, one more suitable to the album quality (many thanks to Lasting Noise Studio for the awesome work). I would have also dedicated more time to work on the bass parts. Nevertheless, we feel proud to have reached such quality with the means we had in hand. Overall, I would change the way we organise duties. We are not an experienced band in terms of production, promotion, marketing, publicity, but without a management company, no label nor experience and living in Spain, all the situations and problems you need to solve to put up your own band seems to be a bit more complex.
We hope to be able to learn from our mistakes, take advantage of the help coming from people we have managed to know all this time and avoid the anxiety or desperation take our drive away so we could be able to show the band's potential if we are given a chance.

• What have you guys been up to since then. Have you performed more gigs since then?
We have been kept writing and arranging songs ,the first ones with the voice of Dani who has also written some lyrics for new songs. We have started sharing duties within the band, for example Ricardo our new bass player who is also an IT expert has developed a couple of projects for us, such as our own web mothersloth.com , and some other stuff related to networking. We are going to start looking for gigs to present our new material after the summer. We would love to go abroad and do some festivals for instance. I believe Temples Festival could be a good one for us, some fans have mentioned it and asked us about that.
• You’re going to start recording the new album soon. Can you provide more details about the album? When it will be ready for all of us to hear?.
Oscar : Our new album will be called The Firemill. We started recording it in February and as soon as we finish with the vocal sessions we will quickly start with the mixing . At this moment we are listening to what we have and working in some arrangements, new sounds we are going to incorporate, such as theremin , e-bow , pre-recorded sounds... the songs we have demand more from us in terms of creativity , it is ironic but some of them are some of the oldest ones , we felt they did not fit in our previous releases, we like to think of our albums as a whole, not just a bunch of songs put together.
We have recorded six songs this time, Doomsday Cyborg, The Firemill, Shadow Witch, Sleepless, Desolation and Requiem. The focus this time is on the supernatural with a bit of Sci-fi, we have created our own universe of gods and evil doers .
Dani: we plan on having it finished (recording, master, etc…) before June. So hopefully next fall we’ll have a physical edition to show to the world.
• Will you be spending a long time recording the album. Or just when you can.
Not really a long time, but we wish we could do this full time,so we can finish it quickly. Unfortunately we all have our own commitments , you know. But spending a lot of time in the studio is something that in my opinion is not a clever thing to do, I like to sound fresh and if I work too much on something then it loses edge , urgency, which is something we do not want to happen.

• Will the album be different to your debut album or will it be very much the same sound?
Dani: it is going to be very different. The timespan of the band and its development has brought us to a current line-up that has changed since 2008. It is our first recording together as we are now. I believe we have broadened our horizon towards something more dynamic style wise.
Alvaro: It has been basically a leap forward in terms of equipment quality , both instruments and studio . We have found our way when it came to look for the right specs , the ones that enhance our needs, going away from the typical combinations so we have finally improved our sound as a band. In our previous album we had it all clear but this time we have reinvented the idea.
I have never been into trends , guitar wise so I assumed finding a new guitar sound to sound classic was a necessity and a challenge. Tired of the typical set ups I had a clear idea in my head , a sound that was versatile and personality. So I chose a Framus Cobra amp through a 4x12 ENGL cabinet with Celestion V30 speakers to enhance my guitar sound.
I also found guitar pickups with awesome clarity and definition to set the sound in the right frequency range we normally use, the Bare Knuckle Warpig pickup. Handmade craftsmanship is still unmatched by the machines we humans normally use to manufacture our products.
Having nailed our sound , we have taken this beyond in the writing dpt. We have looked at ourselves, capturing our essence and we have come up with a bunch of songs in which you can recognise the band and surprisingly, the songs are quite different among them .
Within the songs you can find traces of our style, a mix of influences that enhance our possibilities . We dare to step on the edge of doom metal and classical, sludge , psych and metal. That is the essence of the band, and we feel proud of doing so : experimenting, going beyond is part of our game. The wall of sound, the ups and downs in intensity and creating atmospheres, shaping delicate things and allow them to change into something twisted , are some of our identity signs.
• Will you be releasing the album yourselves or are you looking for label interest.
Oscar - We have talked with a couple of labels really interested in working with us, so we hope we could close deals, get the support needed and eventually reach our fans worldwide.
• What is the song-writing setup in the band. Is it a group collective or down to one individual?
Dani: MotherSloth has a huge collection of songs in the chamber that have not yet been released. Some still come from the very first line-up, but we all contribute with whatever is on the table. The arrangements of songs and giving them a fresh sound are every band member’s task right now.

• Do you guys perform regular gigs in Spain. What is the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Rock scene currently like in Spain?
Dani: we have played many gigs in Spain. There is a scene, but it is very underground, and it is almost only up to the bands to get out there to people to listen to. We have more fans in other European/American/Asian countries than we do here.
• Well guys, before you go do you have anything to say to your fans.
Dani: Yes, we are finally ready to put MotherSloth where it belongs with our 3rd album, this will define our style in a more powerful way.
Oscar: Expect our new album in the next months, probably after the summer. You can now find our music in Spotify and iTunes ,we are now just a bit closer to you !
Words by Steve Howe and Mother Sloth
Thanks to MotherSloth for taking the time out to talking to me. Can't wait to hear the new album. Until then immerse yourself with their superb last album.